Best of the Best (Part 13) 11/05

Is this feature ever going to end? We’re on part 13 of 19 parts. Today we’re looking at the best of the shooters: Both first person and SHMUP style.

In 2003, we only had a “Best Shooter Award.” Our then leader, Chris Pankonin was thinking only of FPS games. However, there was a game that year that came out called Ikaruga which you might remember that Bebito, Alex Williams, and myself were CRAAAAZY over. Because the award was just for “Shooter,” we pushed Ikaruga through with Liquidcross, Lee Baxley and a few others. So in 2004, FPS and 2-D shooters were given their own respective awards.

Let’s take a look.

30. Best First Person Shooter

Award Winner in 2004: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Retro Studios
Release Date: 11/15/2004
System Released On: Nintendo Game Cube

Award Winner in 2005: Half-Life 2
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Valve Software
Release Date: 11/15/2005
Systems Released On: Microsoft Xbox, PC*

Award Winner in 2006: F.E.A.R.
Publisher: Vivendi Games
Developer: Day 1 Studios
Release Date: 10/31/2006
Systems Released On: Microsoft Xbox 360, , PC, Sony Playstation 3

2007 has a bright year ahead of it. Dementium, Bioshock and Halo 3 are all potential contenders, not to mention the Orange Box.

2004 was funny, because I think everyone was expecting Halo 2 to take this. Alas, the average fan forgot that majority of the staff at the time were big Nintendo backers. Even though this is not my genre of choice, and I’m really only a Nintendo fan when it comes to the Pocket Monsters, I have to say Halo 2 and Metroid Prime 2 are hard to choose from in terms of quality. In the end, MP2 has the better plot and so I feel this award holds up true today. Besides, Halo 2 took best Online and Best Xbox awards.

Half-Life 2 is an excellent game, but yet it spawned total crap like Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. Oh god, the horror. I’ve never played FEAR. I’m still a little wary of it being allowed to claim this award when it ACTUALLY came out in 2004 on the PC, but back then we were a CONSOLE GAMING ONLY SITE, and HL2 didn’t hit consoles until 2k5. Hence the asterisk by PC.

I’ve never even touched F.E.A.R. and I probably never will.

This really REALLY is not my genre of choice. The only FPS games I’ve ever really liked are First Person RPG’s like Eye of the Beholder or Shining in the Darkness. I guess I prefer swords to guns.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes(A.J.)
Half Life 2 (Tom N.)
F.E.A.R. (Mark B.)

31. Best 2-D Shooter
Award Winner in 2003: Ikaruga
Developer: Treasure
Publisher: Atari
Release Date: 04/15/2003
System Released On: Nintendo Game Cube

Award Winner in 2004: Gradius V
Developer: Treasure
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: 9/14/2004
System Released On: Sony Playstation 2

Award Winner in 2005: Sigma Star Saga
Publisher: Namco
Developer: Wayforward
Release Date: 08/16/2005
System Released On: Nintendo Game Boy Advance

Award Winner in 2006: Metal Slug Anthology
Publisher: SNK Playmore
Developer: SNK Playmore
Release Date: 12/14/2006
System Released On: Nintendo Wii

This is another award that dropped in quality as it went on. 2007 looks good with games like Raiden 3, Every Extend Extra Extreme, and several imports for the Dreamcast. Still, it’s still a downward trend from 2003 and 4.

Ikaruga was the easy choice for 2003. I had it when it was a Japanese import for the Dreamcast a year earlier, and it’s one of the best shooters ever. It was a Game Cube System seller for shooter fans, and it was one of the games that made us all think in 2003 that the GCN was going to be a player. Ho ho ho. Oops. They’re now porting it to the Xbox 360, so keep your eyes peeled for that. My name has become pretty synonymous with this game, even though in 2007, I’m more known as “The Pokemon Guy.”

Gradius V was the game I felt should’ve won best GOTY in 2004. But alas, I was out voted as it broke down between Katamari and GTA: Kill Things Dead Part Whatever. It’s arguably the best Gradius ever, and easily the prettiest.

Sigma Star Saga was covered in the Best GBA awards. It’s the first (and only) shooter/RPG combo I can think off. It had some flaws, but it was original, innovative and fun.

MSA, although I love the series, is a disappointment to me, as a re-release shouldn’t win for best shooter. It just shouldn’t. This is one of my favorite genres and it makes me sad that the best title we had was an anthology of previously released games. MSA hit the PSP and PS2 in 2007, so there’s a chance you’ll see the game nominated for both system this year as well. Even though I wish better games for this genre had come out in 2007, I can’t deny that each Metal Slug game on its own is amazing and worth owning. I love the series and it’s quality for the first 3 games, where 4 and 5 are not as good.

Ikaruga (Alex Williams)
Ikaruga (Alex Lucard)
Gradius V (Alex Lucard)
Sigma Star Saga (Lucard)
No review found for Metal Slug Anthology

That’s it for today. Tomorrow we’ll look at the best games in sports and fighters.